Researchers David Just and Brian Wansink reviewed a nationally representative sample of adults in the US and found that consumption of soda, candy and fast food is not linked to Body Mass Index (BMI) for 95 percent of the population.

Given that there was no significant difference in consumption of these indulgent foods between overweight and healthy weight individuals, the researchers concluded that the overwhelming majority of weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone.

"This means that diets and health campaigns aimed at reducing and preventing obesity may be off track if they hinge on demonizing specific foods," Just said.

"If we want real change we need to look at the overall diet, and physical activity. Narrowly targeting junk foods is not just ineffective, it may be self-defeating as it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity," he added.

The study was published in the journal Obesity Science & Practice.

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